New chicks keep passing away for no apparent reason?! Help!

kinkachy000

Songster
Mar 18, 2018
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Hello,

I recently purchased 12 various bantam chicks from a local feedstore on Saturday. They gave me an additional one for free because they felt it was close to passing, and I agreed to give it a chance. So I came home with 13 chicks last night. Since I brought them home at 4pm, two of them have passed away (including the free one) and another one, since today, seems like it's on the verge of death. I have never had this many deaths after purchasing chicks, only one previous! The only change is where I bought them; I usually get chicks from the Tractor Supply, but decided to go to the local one since I was able to pick the specific bantam breeds I was wanting. I'm not sure if that's a coincidence or not.

The chicks that have passed, and the dying one, cannot be more than two weeks old - I would even say a week old tops. They have all shown the same symptoms. All of them suddenly became very lame, not being able to hold themselves up. They just fall over and lay on their chest, with their head laying to the side. All of them refuse water or food; I've dipped their beaks, tried eggs, and mashed their food, but they are not interested in anything. None of them had pasty butt either. The only thing the chicks do is sleep! It's like they can't even open their eyes up anymore. They just lay there, eyes closed, breathing and at times chirping softly, before they fall back asleep. I can't get them up and moving, or even awake long enough to water them.
Their brooder is at the right temperature, and they are on medicated chick feed and drinking non-chlorinated water. So I have no clue what is going wrong with them. They are up, running, eating, drinking, and then suddenly they can't even stay awake or move anymore, and then quietly pass away. It was like a flip of a coin. Two of them passed away in my hands; they were just sleeping and suddenly weren't there anymore. Since I have no clue what is going on, I have no clue how to save this dying chick and it's so hard to just sit by and watch her fade. I called the feed store and all they could tell me was that they may not have gotten enough nutrients from transportation, but I don't know how true this may be. Which is why I came here. Has this happened to anyone else? What do you think is happening to them? I have kept the sickly one separated from the others in case this is contagious. I will answer any other questions you may need from me, to help solve this mystery. Please help me!

Also as an edit, here's a picture of the possibly dying chick. This is what she has looked like constantly from around 10am this morning. Yesterday and early this morning, she was running around and acting normal, but then suddenly she was lethargic and not eating or drinking. I can't remember her breed, but the other two who passed were a different breed, Old English reds, so it's not just the particular hatch.
IMG_20180318_134645028.jpg
 

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azygous

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Have you noticed any redness to the poop? Those symptoms are typical of coccidiosis. At the feed store, did they have the chicks penned on bare soil? Or were they in a stock tank? If they were on a dirt floor, I would strongly suspect coccidiosis.

It could also be contaminated feed. It kills chicks very quickly with these symptoms. Did you buy fresh feed or bring home what the feed store was feeding these chicks? Can you smell the feed and see if you detect a moldy odor or a chemical odor?

I would rule out transportation stress. You do not normally see this number of deaths, especially this long after shipping. It usually shows up within a few days of chicks reaching their destination.
 

kinkachy000

Songster
Mar 18, 2018
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Have you noticed any redness to the poop? Those symptoms are typical of coccidiosis. At the feed store, did they have the chicks penned on bare soil? Or were they in a stock tank? If they were on a dirt floor, I would strongly suspect coccidiosis.

It could also be contaminated feed. It kills chicks very quickly with these symptoms. Did you buy fresh feed or bring home what the feed store was feeding these chicks? Can you smell the feed and see if you detect a moldy odor or a chemical odor?

I would rule out transportation stress. You do not normally see this number of deaths, especially this long after shipping. It usually shows up within a few days of chicks reaching their destination.

There is no redness, nor any descripincies in their stool. It looks completely normal and has correct firmness. The chicks have not been in contact with any sort of soil; at the feed store they were on wood shavings. Also, I bought fresh feed from the Tractor Supply, so completely dofferent store, a couple days ago, even before I got the chicks. There is no strange, moldy, or chemical smells to it at all. But I just noticed that it says: MADE 10/02/17. I have no clue what the shelf life is for chick food, could it be bad and poisoning them? I just bought the bag, so I just assumed it would be well within any experation date and not made last year!
Also, the chicks that have died, and the sickly one, had been transported to the store that Saturday (the 17th) so they just came in.
 

kinkachy000

Songster
Mar 18, 2018
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X2 Coccidiosis.
Get back to the feed store and buy some corid. Act fast and you may be able to save some. Sorry for your losses.
They haven't been in any kind of soils. So could they still have gotten it some way? Their stools are completely normal as well. They had just arrived at the feed store on Saturday, same day I picked them up. So could it just be transportation issues?
 

PNW_Peepers

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Dec 17, 2017
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My Coop
My Coop

azygous

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What are you using as a heat source? If it's a heat lamp, what wattage? Does it say "shatter resistant" on the bulb? If so, it may be Teflon coated and it would produce a deadly gas when heated and it would kill chicks.

Just prior to getting these chicks, did your area suffer some very cold weather?It's possible these chicks were shipped without heat packs and encountered some severe temperature drops. Chilling kills chicks within a few days of shipping.
 

kinkachy000

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Mar 18, 2018
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https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/coccidiosis-how-to-treat-it.64386/

Just remember that they won’t always display every symptom of cocci, doesn’t mean they don’t have it. When people have more than one death in chicks so rapidly it’s generally cocci. Biggest cause: wet, filthy environment. If they were in shipping or transit too long they can get cocci.

Alright thank you. The link that you provided says to feed medicated grit that has coccidiostat in it. I just looked and the food I'm feeding them does not have that. If I get food that has coccidiostat in it, will that be sufficient enough to save the rest?
 

kinkachy000

Songster
Mar 18, 2018
127
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What are you using as a heat source? If it's a heat lamp, what wattage? Does it say "shatter resistant" on the bulb? If so, it may be Teflon coated and it would produce a deadly gas when heated and it would kill chicks.

Just prior to getting these chicks, did your area suffer some very cold weather?It's possible these chicks were shipped without heat packs and encountered some severe temperature drops. Chilling kills chicks within a few days of shipping.

I've misplaced the box that the light bulb came in, but I made sure it was specifically for chickens and brooders. So I do not think that Teflon would be an issue, since it's specifically for chicks. I live in the Pacific Northwest, in Washington state, and it's been a little rainy but nothing drastic. They did however come from Missouri, I believe, and I'm not sure their weather. Also, that would be a long way in transportation, and all three that have passed/passing are small and may have gotten squished or hurt during that long time? I will look into the Chills, thank you for this suggestion.
 

PolarBerry

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Aug 12, 2017
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I work at a feed store and we usually lose at least a handful of any shipment of bantams. Sometimes all. They just are much more susceptible to getting chilled or stressed.
 

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